Mapping progress in chronic hepatitis B: geographic variation in prevalence, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment, 2013–15

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Abstract

Objective:

To measure progress towards Australia's National Hepatitis B Strategy 2014–17 targets, and assess geographic variation in disease burden and access to care for those living with chronic hepatitis B (CHB).

Methods:

Data were generated from routinely collected sources, including risk-group prevalence and population data, infectious diseases notifications, Medicare records, and immunisation registry data, and assessed nationally and according to geographic area for 2013–15.

Results:

CHB prevalence in 2015 was 239,167 (1.0%), with 62% of those affected having been diagnosed (target 80%). Treatment uptake was 6.1% (target 15%), and only 15.3% of people with CHB received guideline-based care. CHB prevalence ranged within Australia's 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) from 1.77% (NT) to 0.56% (Grampians & Barwon South West VIC). No PHN reached the 15% treatment target, with uptake highest in South Western Sydney (13.7%). Immunisation coverage reached the 95% target in three PHNs.

Conclusions:

The CHB burden in Australia is significant and highly geographically focused, with notable disparities in access to care across Australia.

Implications for public health:

Efforts to improve progress toward National Strategy targets should focus on priority areas where the prevalence of CHB is substantial but access to treatment and care remains low.

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